TEL AVIV — Armenia has inaugurated its embassy in Israel one year after deciding to upgrade diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

The opening of the Armenian Embassy in Tel Aviv, initially slated for the beginning of this year, was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

A Russian-language news website, Vesti Izrail, reported that a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official attended the opening ceremony held on Thursday. It quoted the official, Itzhak Carmel-Kagan, as saying that the embassy will facilitate a “constructive dialogue” between the two countries.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Armen Smbatyan noted a special symbolism in the fact that the embassy begins its work on the eve of the New Year according to the Jewish calendar. He congratulated all the citizens of Israel on Rosh Hashanah, wishing peace and prosperity to Israel, wellbeing, health and success to the people of the country.

In a short interview with Vesti, the ambassador said: “How can Armenia and Israel begin a joint movement towards a future that, first of all, encompasses bilateral interstate relations? I see no alternative to humanitarian contacts and projects that act as a driving force and catalyst for initialization and ensuring sustainable, irreversible, productive and multilateral cooperation between countries and peoples in the 21st century.”

The Armenian mission located inside a Tel Aviv office building began providing consular services last month. Also, Ambassador Armen Smbatyan met with leaders of the Armenian community in the Holy Land, including Jerusalem-based Patriarch Nourhan Manougian.

The Armenian government decided to open the embassy in September 2019, saying that it will not only “give new impetus” to its relations with Israel but also help to secure the Armenian Apostolic Church’s continued presence in the Holy Land.

Armenia and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1992 but have had no embassies in each other’s capitals until now. The former Armenian ambassadors to the Jewish state were based in Paris, Cairo and Yerevan.

 

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